Andrew Marvell, the Critical Heritage

By Elizabeth Story Donno | Go to book overview

Certainly neither Carew, nor Waller, nor any other court poet of that day, has produced anything in the same style finer than these lines. But Marvel’s more elaborate poetry is not confined to love songs and other such light exercises of an ingenious and elegant fancy. Witness his verses on Milton’s Paradise Lost—‘When I behold the poet blind, yet bold’—which have throughout almost the dignity, and in parts more than the strength, of Waller. But, instead of transcribing these, which are printed in most editions of Milton, we will give as a specimen of his more serious vein a portion of his longer poems on the Death of the Lord Protector.

[Quotes ll. 1-6, 21-30, 73-8, 135-64, 171-88, 227-72, 277-86. ]

This poem was written very soon after Cromwell’s death, in the brief reign of Richard, and most probably at its commencement; for all good and high things are anticipated of that worthy successor of his great father.

[Quotes ll. 309-14. ]


59.

A portrait of the poet and prose writer

1847

Old English Worthies: A Gallery of Portraits is attributed by the British Library to the Utilitarian Lord Henry Brougham (1778-1868) and others. Largely biographical, the long article on Marvell shows the influence of Hartley Coleridge (see No. 52), who is called ‘Marvell’s best biographer, ’ even though the anonymous author was aware of Dove’s earlier effort (see No. 50) which, in turn, had been based on previous accounts. As such, the portrait may be correctly said to represent a diffusion both of true and specious facts about Marvell.

-188-

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